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10 Tips from Toastmasters International

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1 Avoid speaking in monotone.

Use inflection to signal significant points in your speech and keep the audience engaged.

2 Step up.

If you haven’t filled a certain meeting role in your club yet, make it a point to do so at an upcoming meeting. It will not only get you out of your comfort zone, you’ll also gain a better understanding of the overall club experience.

3 Manage your time.

Serving as the timer at your club meetings and giving speeches with time limits will help you master time management skills that will help you in all areas of your life.

4 Speak your case.

Sometimes public speaking has an ­audience of one, such as a traffic court judge or customer service representative. Presenting a well-organized argument can help you win your case.

5 PREP (Point, Reason, Example, Point).

Start your speech with a clear point. Explain your reason for choosing the subject. Illustrate your point with examples. End with a clear point that wraps up the speech.

6 Use common language.

Impress your audience through your presentation and mastery of your topic, not by using complicated words. For example: Say “help” instead of “assist” or “use” instead of “utilize.”

7 Don’t get lost in translation.

If you deliver a speech in your second (or even third) language, use humor, metaphor, and analogy sparingly, as these don’t always translate well into other languages.

8 Take jokes for a test drive.

If you want to include a joke in your speech, write several options and test them out with your family, coworkers, or club members to see how they are received.

9 Use people’s names.

People love to be addressed by their name in conversation. To help you remember someone’s name, be sure to say it back to them to verify you have it right, and try to use it several times to make it stick.

10 Keep a journal.

When you get ideas for speech topics, jot them down in a journal so you have them to refer to when you’re tapped for ideas and need inspiration.

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